Dozens of activists and affected community members in Costa Rica took to the streets Monday in the capital city of San Jose to protest against a planned pineapple plantation expansion of almost 3,000 hectares that opponents argue will have a detrimental impact on the fragile wetland ecosystems in the area and damage the rich archaeological history of the area.
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The protest set out from the National Museum and San Juan, making its way to the Ministry of Environment to file a complaint to reject the expansion project in Sierpe, located in the southern area of Osa, and demand authorities cancel the permit given to the Finca Palmar Sur Project of the multinational fruit production company Del Monte-Pindeco.
The group of demonstrators consisted of local campesinos, tour operators, Indigenous people, ecologists, university students, women's groups, students, cooperatives, representatives of Caribbean communities and other concerned individuals, organized in the National Front of Sectors Affected by Pineapple Expansion.
The representative of the Federation of Conservationists of Costa Rica, Mauricio Alvarez, said the permit was given without taking into account that the area in question is home to nine archaeological sites, including one declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
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Alvarez said there were many doubts about the management of permit, which were given within a period of only 20 days, without taking into account the environmental impacts for local communities and natural resources.
Protesters say the monoculture, located less than 3 miles from the Terraba-Sierpe wetland, would put at risk the health of the population due to high levels of toxic agrochemicals that would be used in the fruit's production.
Since Costa Rica joined the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the U.S. in 2004, pineapple production has skyrocketed, with the small country accounting for almost 60 percent of world production.
Demonstrators announced that they will submit a request to Unesco to assess the impact of this project.